Reputations are now at ‘steak’ with the scores of last week’s Wagyu branded beef judging competition currently being calculated.
A select panel of judges gathered at a secret dining location in Brisbane with the Australian Wagyu Association (AWA) carefully coordinating the event and a skilled executive chef cooking each of this year’s Wagyu branded beef entries.
The annual search to find Australia’s best Wagyu steak has attracted plenty of industry attention this year, according to AWA’s chief executive officer Graham Truscott.
“This year’s competition received entries from Gina Rinehart’s new full-blood Wagyu branded beef, 2GR, and Mort and Co’s, The Phoenix, Wagyu beef brand,” Mr Truscott said.
“This has generated a lot of interest from our Australian Wagyu industry with such big players stepping up in the Wagyu industry.”
Mr Truscott added that potential large players, such as Ms Rinehart, increasing their Wagyu brand presents in domestic and international beef markets may create more demand throughout the entire Wagyu cattle industry.
“Once a beef business builds a big brand it has to be supplied with Wagyu beef seven days-a-week and 52 weeks of the year,” he said.
“That means a large supply chain is required, which may potentially generate tremendous demand for good quality Wagyu cattle.
“Every major player entering the Wagyu beef industry can have a major beneficial impact on the entire Wagyu beef market.”
A total of 25 Wagyu beef brands were entered in this year’s judging competition.
“It’s fantastic to see such large numbers of high quality beef brands being entered in the competition,” Mr Truscott said.
“I feel we had a broad range of brands coming forward and a number of new brands as well, so it’s good to see the competition being recognised as Australia’s leading branded beef competition because the quality of meat is so high in the Wagyu brands.
“This year’s competition is really covering our entire Australian Wagyu market extremely well.”
Mr Truscott said the competition give those in the Wagyu industry an aspiring benchmark and also the potential for successful Wagyu brands to utilize winning medals in marketing their beef product.
“The competition winners use the Wagyu branded beef medals very effectively in their marketing campaigns,” he said.
“It’s not very different to the way Australia’s wine industry uses judging competition medals to market their brands to consumers and that’s how we wanted to modeled this Wagyu branded beef competition.
“The winners in this year’s competition will definitely use the medals in both their domestic and international Wagyu beef marketing campaigns.”
Mr Truscott said a secondary benefit of the branded beef competition is the feedback a Wagyu products gets from being bench marked against other brands in the industry.
“The competition is helping the Wagyu industry identify the best commercial beef products,’ he said.
Branded beef competition results will be announced at the annual Wagyu industry gala dinner during the Wagyu Conference at Albury in New South Wales on May 2.